Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
Assigned on Briefs November 14, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 4965 Cheryl
A. Blackburn, Judge
Petitioner, Joseph Miles, appeals the Davidson County
Criminal Court's denial of his petition for writ of
habeas corpus, in which he challenged his second degree
murder conviction and resulting forty-year sentence. We
conclude that the Petitioner has failed to establish that he
is entitled to habeas corpus relief, and we affirm the denial
of his petition in accordance with Rule 20, Rules of the
Court of Criminal Appeals.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
Court Affirmed Pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of
Miles, Nashville, Tennessee, pro se.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Benjamin A. Ball, Senior Counsel; Glenn R. Funk, District
Attorney General; and Megan King, Assistant District Attorney
General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Everett Williams, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Norma McGee Ogle and Alan E. Glenn, JJ., joined.
EVERETT WILLIAMS, JUDGE
1998, a Robertson County jury convicted the Petitioner of
second degree murder, and the trial court sentenced him to
forty years in prison as a Range II offender. This court
affirmed the Petitioner's conviction and sentence on
direct appeal. See State v. Joseph Miles, No.
M1998-00682-CCA-R3-PC, 2001 WL 166368, at *1 (Tenn. Crim.
App. Feb. 16, 2001). The Petitioner has repeatedly and
unsuccessfully pursued relief from his conviction and
sentence. See Joseph Miles v. State, No.
M2003-01871-CCA-R3-PC, 2005 WL 2438392, at *1 (Tenn. Crim.
App. Sept. 26, 2005) (post-conviction); Joseph Miles v.
State, No. M2006-02088-CCA-R3-HC, 2007 WL 1828879, at *1
(Tenn. Crim. App. June 26, 2007) (habeas corpus); Joseph
Miles v. State, No. M2008-00506- CCA-R3-PC, 2009 WL
890892, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 26, 2009) (reopen
post-conviction petition); Joseph Miles v. State,
No. M2016-00556-CCA-R3-ECN, 2017 WL 3234014, at *1-2 (Tenn.
Crim. App. July 31, 2017) (coram nobis), no perm. app.
2015, the Petitioner filed a second petition for writ of
habeas corpus in which he alleged that Tennessee law did not
authorize county grand juries and that, as a result, his
conviction and sentence were void. On January 12, 2017, the
habeas corpus court entered an order finding that county
grand juries were lawful and denying the Petitioner's
petition. The Petitioner appeals.
I, section 15 of the Tennessee Constitution provides that
"the privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be
suspended, unless when in case of rebellion or invasion, the
General Assembly shall declare the public safety requires
it." Habeas corpus may be sought by "[a]ny person
imprisoned or restrained of liberty ... to inquire into the
cause of such imprisonment and restraint." T.C.A. §
29-21-101(a). The application for the writ must be made by
petition and verified by affidavit. T.C.A. §
29-21-107(a). The granting or denial of a petition for habeas
corpus relief is a question of law reviewed de novo with no
presumption of correctness afforded to the trial court's
findings or conclusions. Edwards v. State, 269
S.W.3d 915, 919 (Tenn. 2008).
the statutory language "appears broad, in fact,
'[h]abeas corpus under Tennessee law has always been, and
remains, a very narrow procedure.'" Id.
(quoting Archer v. State, 851 S.W.2d 157, 162 (Tenn.
1993). In order to merit relief, a petitioner must establish
that the challenged judgment is not merely voidable, but
void. Hogan v. Mills, 168 S.W.3d 753, 755 (Tenn.
2005). A judgment is voidable when it is "facially valid
and requires proof beyond the face of the record or judgment
to establish its invalidity." Summers v. State,
212 S.W.3d 251, 256 (Tenn. 2007). A void judgment, on the
other hand, is "one that is facially invalid because the
court did not have the statutory authority to render such
judgment." Id. "[T]he question of whether
a judgment is void 'is always one of jurisdiction, that
is, whether the order, judgment or process under attack comes
within the lawful authority of the court or judge rendering
or issuing it.'" Edwards, 269 S.W.3d at 920
(quoting State ex rel. Anglin v. Mitchell, 575
S.W.2d 284, 287 (Tenn. 1979), overruled on other grounds
by Archer, 851 S.W.2d at 162-64).
is only available when "'it appears upon the face of
the judgment or the record of the proceedings upon which the
judgment is rendered' that a convicting court was without
jurisdiction or authority to sentence a defendant, or that a
defendant's sentence of imprisonment or other restraint
has expired." Archer, 851 S.W.2d at 164
(quoting State v. Galloway, 45 Tenn. 326, 336-37
(Tenn. 1868)). The habeas corpus court has the authority to
dismiss the petition if the petition shows that the
petitioner "would not be entitled to any relief."
T.C.A. § 29-21-109. Accordingly, if the petition ...